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Enugu NLC Demands Minimum Wage  Reflective of Economic Realities 

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Enugu State NLC Chairman, Comrade Fabian Nwigbo during the press briefing

The Enugu State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the Federal Government to expedite action on a new minimum wage for workers.

The union is demanding for minimum wage that would reflect the current economic situation of the country.

Recall that, NLC and other related unions commenced national planned protests on Tuesday over the high cost of living, inflation, insecurity, and hardship in the country.

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It, however, also gave the Federal Government a fresh 14-day ultimatum, which will elapse on March 13 for the full implementation of all the October 2, 2023 agreement and other demands presented in its letter during Tuesday’s nationwide protest.

Addressing newsmen at its secretariat in Enugu on Wednesday, the Union said workers could no longer cope with N30,000 currently been paid by the government.

The Chairman of the Union, Comrade Fabian Nwigbo, maintained that the pains and suffering of workers had tripled since the subsidy removal on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and called for urgent attention.

“First of all, in 2019, government said they were paying us N30,000 minimum wage. In 2019,fuel price was less than N150 and we were given N30,000 minimum wage for those who were lucky to have it because we understand that some states up till today, have not implemented that.

Since 2019 till date , a lot had happened. Today, fuel is N700 per liter depending on where you are burying, your location and the minimum wage remained N30,000.

“When the present government of Tinubu came 29th May,2023, he told us on that faithful day that he was sworn -in that subsidy is gone and since then, the pains, the suffering, has got horrible than it was before. Then, a bag of Cement was sold at N3,000, N2,700, N2,900  and last week , a bag of cement was sold for N13,000, N15,000, depending on the location.

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“Cost of living rose to unimaginable height, such that even if minimum wage is N500,000 and the economic activities remained what they are today, it is difficult for anybody to survive.

“Look around to see the number of deaths. People died every day. It’s as a result of their inability to give us good governance for people to take care of themselves. You find out that workers’ salaries remained  constant, every other thing changes and we are saying that enough is enough”, he said..

Speaking on the nationwide protest by NLC, Comrade Nwigbo commended workers in the state for participating in the process, noting that the protest was suspended to allow the Federal Government to attend to the demands of NLC within fourteen days.

Comrade Nwigbo further said, “as we are suffering, every other person is suffering.  After our protest yesterday, we had our NEC meeting  and thanked Nigerians as I had done today.

“They came out enmasse. That goes to show you that people were suffering. They are no longer comfortable with what is happening in the system.

“We learnt that a bag of rice is over N100,000 ( 50kg) ,and minimum wage is N30,000, so if you keep your salary for three months you cannot buy a bag of 50Kg rice. So, we have a lot of challenges in our hands, that is why we are crying out.”, Comrade Nwigbo said.

He said the NLC set aside 27th and 28th February, for peaceful protests against some government‘s decisions that had produced hardship to Nigerians. His words, ” We said yesterday that we are  going to let Nigerians know that we are not part of the people that brought hardship upon us. Of course, we are also suffering,  we have never conspired with anybody or compromised,  all of us are in this suffering.

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The NLC Chairman said that though the Federal Government had started attending to some of the issues raised, it needed to do more to reduce the sufferings of the people.

He called for sincerity of purpose in the fight against insurgency to enable farmers access their farms and produce more food for the nation.

“The cost of food items had risen beyond acceptable level because farmers don’t go to farm again. We heard that in some parts of the North, you have to pay tax before you could access you farm, to the bandits, which means they are not faceless, they are known and we are saying government should go after them ,so as to allow an average Nigerian rest”, Nwigbo said

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